'A voice for the voiceless in the Anglican Province of Central Africa'

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Who will listen to our plight? A letter from Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare, Zimbabwe

Bishop Chad Gandiya

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports that the acting Dean, Bishop Albert Chama, of the Central African Province has been away at a Global South Conference in Singapore and thereafter in the United States, all expenses paid, with those who are ‘blowing a trumpet’ to break up the Anglican Communion. At the Conference he delivered a Paper discussing ‘Economic Empowerment of the Global South’. There is a degree of irony that Bishop Chama has been away lecturing others in such a cosseted environment without a mention of the circumstances prevailing in his own Province, not least in Zimbabwe, and whilst priests in the Province go unpaid.

We publish below a letter from Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare, Zimbabwe cataloguing the continuing problems that he struggles with against the now infamous ‘Bishop’ Nolbert Kunonga.

Bishop Gandiya asks “Who will listen to our plight?” It would be much better if Bishop Albert Chama spent some of his energies addressing this terrible situation rather than travelling around the world lecturing others.


From: Bishop Chad Gandiya

Police repression of the Anglican Church intensifies

Dear Friends,

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. Easter tide greetings to you.
We trust your Easter celebrations went well. Thank you for all your prayer
support for us. We write this letter to bring you up-to-date with what is
happening in our church.

Some of you are aware that Vice President Honourable
John Nkomo together with Honourable Ministers Sekai Holland and Gibson Sibanda
all members of the Organ for National Healing Reconciliation and Integration
were tasked by Cabinet to mediate between us (Diocese of Harare CPCA) and Dr.
Kunonga's Anglican Province of Zimbabwe. Those talks are going on.
We continue to be amazed that while these talks have begun and Cabinet's wish
and message to us to worship in peace, the very opposite is happening. Our
experience over the last two weeks is that the persecution seems to have
intensified. Police are openly telling our people to attend Dr. Kunonga's
services only and continue to prohibit them from worshipping in their churches
as per Judge President Makarawu's judgment and Justice Bhunu's judgment of the
3rd March 2010. The former allowed for sharing of church buildings for worship
until the courts give their final judgment on the matter and the latter endorsed
that judgment. Whereas in the past some of our congregations used to hold their
services outside of their church buildings, the police are driving them away
telling them that they cannot meet outside anywhere near the church buildings.

We are completely baffled by the behavior of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in
this matter. We have persistently asked why they are being used to prop up Dr.
Kunonga by actively telling people that our church properties belong to him and therefore
our members should attend his Church services only. Nobody has given us any

We continue to raise our grave concern over the police partisan
involvement in the affairs of our church, abuse of our rights and disregard of
Court Orders and Rulings.

We also continue to ask; Who will police the police?
Have they officially become a law unto themselves?

To whom can we turn for help?
Who will listen to our plight?

Last Sunday 11/04/2010
1. Police went to St. Mark's Church, Ruwa and drove our members away from
both the church and church premises. When the congregation decided to meet at
the priest's house the police prohibited them from doing so. What right do they
have to stop even this? The priest of this church received a text message from
Kunonga's priest telling him not to use the church or else "what they did at St.
Faith's Church, Budiriro will happen to them". St. Faith's Church, Budiriro is
where riot police tear-gassed our people on a Sunday morning and then followed
it up on a Thursday afternoon with tear-gassing Mother's Union members who were
worshipping away from the church in the open air. This is further proof of that
Dr. Kunonga's priests are working in cahoots with the police.

2. Our Cathedral congregation was told by the police not to meet anywhere
near the Cathedral next week or else they will face the wrath of the police.

3. At Holy Trinity Church, Ruwa acting Officer-in-Charge assistant
Inspector Ngoshi and Sergeant Major Chibaya force number 044621A drove our
congregation out telling them that they had orders to stop their service because
they were to leave the Church to Kunonga's group even though he hasn't got a
single member in that area.

4. At St. Alban's Church, Chiweshe where I had gone for a Confirmation
Service- the church doors were welded from inside and so we could not go in as
we had intended. We only managed to remove a pin on one of the hinges but could
not go in. As a result we had our service in the open air. Rev'd. Mangava,
Kunonga's resident priest/untrained teacher called the police telling them that
we had broken into the church. Police arrived just before the end of our service
only to find a pin that had been removed and nothing broken. For that, about six
people including the two priests who were with me had to go to Glendale police
station to give evidence - a process that took forever. I followed them. No
charges were brought against them but we reported the damage that was caused to
our church building by the welding of doors and other devices used to prevent us
from going in. We await a court hearing. What's amazing is the ease with which
even Dr. Kunonga's priests call the police, tell them what to do and how they
in turn easily comply.

5. A number of our congregations are using other denominations church
buildings (we are very grateful for their generosity) while some use school
buildings and others continue to meet in the open air.

Thank you for your messages of solidarity and assurances of your prayer
support. We don't lose heart in spite of all the challenges we are facing.
He is risen indeed - Halleluiah!

+Chad, Harare.

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